Dick Martin's Hot-Sour Soup
6 dried Chinese mushrooms, about 1 1/2 inches long
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots or 1/4 cup water chestnuts
6 ozs. lean boneless pork
2 cakes fresh bean curd
Two 13-oz. cans chicken broth
2 tbsps. soy sauce
3 tbsps. white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, more if desired
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. black bean paste with chili or hot sauce to taste
6 scallions, thinly sliced, including some of the green tops
3 tbsps. cornstarch mixed with 4 tbsps. cold water
1 large egg, beaten
Cover mushrooms with warm water in a small bowl and soak 30 minutes. Drain, reserving mushroom water to add to chicken broth. Remove tough stem ends from mushrooms and discard. Shred mushrooms into thin strips with a very sharp knife or Chinese cleaver.
Rinse bamboo shoots under running water. Drain, shred; put aside. Trim excess fat from pork. Slice meat into very thin strips. Shred bean curd in similar fashion. Place all ingredients within easy reach until you are ready to cook.
Measure chicken broth and mushroom water; add enough additional water so mixture measures 5 cups. Place chicken broth-water solution plus soy sauce into a 4-quart stock pot. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, bean curd and pork.
Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add vinegar, pepper, salt, black bean paste with chili or Tabasco and half the scallions.
Bring to a boil again. Stir cornstarch-water paste slowly into simmering soup. Stir constantly until soup thickens and clears. Slowly stir in beaten egg, stirring constantly.
Taste to adjust seasonings. For "hotter" flavor, add more bean sauce, hot sauce or black pepper. Serve in a large soup tureen. Sprinkle remaining scallions over soup for garnish. Serve piping hot. Serves 6.